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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Nutrition professionals are obligated to follow ethical guidelines when conducting industry-funded research

item Nicklas, Theresa
item Karmally, Wahida
item O'neil, Carol

Submitted to: Journal Of The American Dietetic Association
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/20/2011
Publication Date: 12/20/2011
Citation: Nicklas, T.A., Karmally, W., O'Neil, C.E. 2011. Nutrition professionals are obligated to follow ethical guidelines when conducting industry-funded research. Journal Of The American Dietetic Association. 111(12):1931-1932.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The fiscal climate for research reflects the increasing difficulty in obtaining competitive government and foundation funds. Thus, nutrition professionals conducting research may need to work with industry. However, there is a growing concern about real or perceived conflicts of interest and the potential influence that industry funding may have on research findings and the integrity of the researchers. Scientists recently defined “white hat bias” to be "bias leading to distortion of research-based information in the service of what may be perceived as righteous ends" (1-4). This can be interpreted to be bias resulting from industry funding (1). However, "white hat biases" can also exist in opposition to the interests of industry. To begin an important dialogue among nutrition professionals, this Ethics in Action column presents 10 guidelines that can be used to preserve the integrity and credibility of food and nutrition science to benefit public health. These guidelines can be used to reduce bias from industry funded nutrition research and to safeguard the integrity of research and the scientists in dietetics. Nutrition research, clinical and applied, needs to continue to be regarded as a science of truth.

Last Modified: 06/23/2017
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